Surface Area: 34 square kilometres
What the natives are called: Juzcareños
Outstanding Sights: Santa Catalina church, ruins of the Fábrica de Hojalata (tin factory)
Geographical Location: in the upper Genal region of the Ronda highlands. The village sits at more than 620 metres above sea level and is 22 kilometres from Ronda and 113 from the provincial capital. The area records an average annual rainfall of more than 1,100 litres per square metre and the average temperature is about 14º C.
The municipality of Júzcar is a long and narrow strip of territory that adjoins the municipality of Ronda to the north, and in the south descends to Estepona and Benahavís. Its elongated shape allows for an enormous variety of scenery formed by very high peaks (Benamahoma, El Castillejo, Jardón and Jarastepar, the last of these being the highest in the area at 1,425 metres), areas with native Mediterranean vegetation, and last of all, dense and unusually lush pine forests.
Although the historical origin of this village is very uncertain it is clear it was founded before the time of the Arabs, and some link its origin to the mining activity of the Roman era. Be that as it may, the village fell into the hands of the Christian troops in 1485. From that date, forward the Moors were subjected to very strict rules and, as is well known, ultimately rebelled in 1570, resulting in their expulsion in 1609.
A very unusual personality, "El Tajarillo" entered the scene in that era. A sort of forerunner of the nineteenth-century bandit, he refused to be driven out. He fled to the highlands and perpetrated incessant acts of banditry as long as he could. All that remains of him is his legend and a place called Paso de Tarajillo (Tarajillo’s Pass), near a hut where it is said he died in an accident.
Due to its location in the Upper Genal area and its difficult access from the exterior it doesn’t seem very logical that Júzcar would have been industrialised before many other Spanish cities, but such was the case. In 1726, construction began on the first sheet tin factory in Spain, which began operations in 1731 with no fewer than 200 workers on the payroll. The factory was inaugurated with the pompous name of "La nunca vista en España Real Fábrica de Hojalata y sus adherentes, reinando los siempre invictos monarcas y Católicos Reyes don Felipe V y doña Isabel de Farnesio" (The Never-Before-Seen in Spain Royal Factory For the Manufacture of Tin Sheeting and its By-Products, in the Reign of the Unvanquished Catholic Monarchs Philip V and Isabella Farnese.)
It is documented that since, at that time, the process for manufacturing tin sheeting was not known in Spain, some 30 specialists from Germany, under the direction of the Swiss engineers Pedro Mentón and Emérito Dupasquier, came to the village. It is said-and this should be considered anecdotal- that these engineers had to be smuggled out of their own country in barrels since in order to prevent competition they were prohibited from going abroad. Apparently, the factory ceased operations during the War of Independence, and the General Archives of Simancas preserves part of the first piece of tin sheeting produced.
The fact that in 1752 there were eight mill units in operation-and continued operating until 1841-along with two tanneries attests to the prosperity of Júzcar in the eighteenth century. It is therefore not surprising that in this area there are the ruins of six other villages, of whose abandonment there are no reliable records. It is known, however, that Faraján was administratively subordinate to Júzcar until 1873.
Whether you leave from the Costa del Sol or from Ronda you must take the A-376 road. In the former case, get onto this road from the AP-7 or N-340 expressway at San Pedro de Alcántara. About ten kilometres before getting to Ronda turn to the left onto the MA-525, and you will arrive at Júzcar after passing through Cartajima. If you leave from Ronda, take the aforementioned A-376 and likewise the MA-525, which passes through Cartajima and Júzcar.
Full graphical path: http://bit.ly/vnH46U
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